Six year-old Charlie Anne Cox likes the colour pink, giggling with friends, and watching movies.
Her infectious smile can often be found in the hallways of Canuck Place, where she has been a regular guest since being diagnosed with a genetic disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 when she was 6 months old.
“We feel very fortunate to be on the Canuck Place Program,” said parents, Matt and Cherie. “It’s a great source of support and respite, especially after long hospital stays with our daughter. As a family we feel at ease every time we walk through the doors, and truly think of it as a home while we’re there.”
There’s never a shortage of activities for Charlie Anne while she’s staying at the house. She enjoys peering into the large fish tank, setting off light and musical shows in the Snoozelan room, and attending school with the Canuck Place teacher.
For her parents, a trip to Canuck Place can either be a time of fun, worry-free family time together, or it can be a place where they can take a much needed break.
“You can’t just ask grandma to babysit,” explains Cherie. “You need people that are skilled. She’s been going there for over 4 years, so they know everything about her. They know she sucks her left thumb, how she falls asleep, and how much attentiveness she needs from them. It allows us to walk away and leave her there, and be comfortable that she’s being taken care of.”
Canuck Place also provides Matt and Cherie with emotional support, where parents can connect with other families who can understand exactly what they’re going through.
“Nobody’s looking, nobody’s staring,” said Cherie. “It’s kind of nice to have people like you there.”
“It’s somewhere where everyone understands what we’re going through,” added Matt. “And the challenges that we face.”
Charlie Anne and her parents are featured in the Let Your Light Shine project.